Following the success of SouthSounds 2016, locals and visitors alike lauded both the regional music and the event’s Azalea City vibe. According to Gabe Fleet, SouthSounds president and co-chair, the festival’s success was the result of the positive combined effort of both the fans and the supporting entities — which included Budweiser, Hargrove Engineering, Visit Mobile and the Downtown Mobile Alliance.

The high level of Southeastern musical talent and production the festival’s organizers brought to downtown Mobile left many wondering where the future would take this musical event. At a recent press conference, the minds behind this ever-growing event gave the public a look into the future by making their initial artist announcement for SouthSounds 2017.

This first round of confirmed artists include Big Freedia, JoJo’s Slim Wednesday (featuring JoJo Hermann of Widespread Panic), Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Marcus King Band, All Them Witches, Royal Teeth, Humming House, Sweet Crude, Alfred Banks, Jamell Richardson “The Gulf Coast Blues Boy,” Mr. 88, Jukebox Brass Band, Difference Machine, Beamin and Ranch Ghost.

According to Fleet, this eclectic cavalcade of Southeastern musical acts represents a conscious effort to make SouthSounds a festival for all musical tastes.

Organizers also made it their mission to increase the footprint of the festival. The addition of Soul Kitchen as a featured venue signifies another goal met.

Fleet says these objectives are part of a perpetual effort to pull music fans from “within a couple of hours’ drive” and keep them coming back for more. However, he also says organizers hope future installments establish a nationwide buzz that will have “20,000 to 25,000 people wandering around downtown Mobile,” but Fleet and the festival’s organizers are rightfully content to take things one step at a time.

“We don’t expect people to fly in from across the country yet, but we want to get people down from places like Montgomery, Destin and New Orleans,” Fleet said.

This initial announcement of bands is just the beginning. Fleet says SouthSounds will reveal more acts “sometime after Mardi Gras.” Until then, local and regional bands can submit their information through SouthSounds’ website and the popular online band resource ReverbNation.

Fleet says organizers are looking for “interesting” and “exciting” bands with recent material. These bands do not necessarily have to be young and mainstream, but they do have to be active. So far, Fleet says, they have been overwhelmed with interest.

“Between [ReverbNation] and the website, we’ve gotten over 900 submissions over the past couple weeks,” Fleet said. “There’s a lot of folks who want to play, and there are a number of big national acts that we’re talking to.”

SouthSounds 2017 will feature both three-day general admission passes and three-day VIP passes. The VIP pass includes local food, Anheuser-Busch beers, a T-shirt and exclusive viewing and seating areas at the Cathedral Stage and larger venues such as O’Daly’s and Soul Kitchen.

Fleet also notes the VIP areas also serve as artist hospitality areas, which will give VIP pass-holders the opportunity to mingle with artists and get to know them better.

When passes go on sale, the public will be able to pick up general admission weekend passes for $25 and VIP weekend passes for $75 until April 1, when the price will be increased for both tiers. Passes will be available for purchase on the official SouthSounds website, www.southsoundsfest.com.